The Idol of Cthulhu Kickstarter

Good evening everyone!

At the time of writing, the Kickstarter for The Idol of Cthulhu has gone live!

I was contacted a little while ago by Delphes Desvoivres – the organizer of the Props of Nyarlathotep (New York & Kenya, London & Cairo) and Sedefkar Simulacrum Kickstarters – and invited to write a scenario that would accompany the Idol of Cthulhu sculpture that they plan to produce.

The scenario will be a sequel to the original The Call of Cthulhu story by HP Lovecraft. How long the scenario becomes will be determined by stretch goals for the campaign. The scenario will have multi-media components – the sculpture itself can be used as a key physical prop, and audio recordings will be provided by none other than the immensely talented HP Lovecraft Historical Society! Needless to say, I’m rather excited about this project and can’t wait to see how far it goes.

Stretch goals coming up include: maps of Providence and Rhode Island; cards featuring the likeness of the NPCs; expanded content for the scenario; creation of another prop for the scenario, the “Call of Cthulhu” manuscript, as written by the late Francis Wayland Thurston of Boston.

At the time of writing, the Kickstarter campaign went live about three hours ago and is more than 80% of the way to its initial target of €5,000, and has 20 days to run. The campaign ends on 27th December 2017.

Posted in Call of Cthulhu, Kickstarter | Leave a comment

Episode 118 – The Good Friends get some of that old-time Mythos religion

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The Mythos as Religion – part 1

Main Topic

We’re back and we’re making offerings to twisted idols, praying in inhuman tongues and performing rites passed down through strange aeons. This is our look at the role religion plays in the Cthulhu Mythos. Specifically, we try to make sense of how worship of the Great Old Ones relates to more wholesome beliefs. To do so, we break down some of the common elements of world religions and see how they might map onto Mythos sects. We appreciate that this ventures into some sensitive areas and we try to remain respectful of the beliefs of others.

Mostly.

Our motivation is to try to make the cultists in our Call of Cthulhu games a little more three-dimensional. It’s easy to see a cultist as just a lunatic in a robe, waving a sacrificial dagger and trying to bring about the end of the world. Belief is a lot more complicated than that, however. Thinking about real religions can fill in some gaps in how we present these most common antagonists in our games. It’s very easy to dehumanise cultists, seeing them as little more than Call of Cthulhu‘s answer to orcs. By thinking about why they believe what they do and how they express these beliefs, we might be more inclined to interact with cultists in more interesting ways than just shooting them in the face.

Especially when there are so many other places you could shoot people.

This is the first of a two-part discussion. Next episode, we will build on what we have learned and think about how to make Mythos cults more interesting. We will also brainstorm a few original cults, armed with our new insights.

News

We are almost ready to go to press with issue 3 of The Blasphemous Tome. This is the annual fanzine we produce for those lovely people who back us on Patreon. And there is still time for you share in the horror! We will send copies to everyone who is a backer by the end of this year, although if you’re quick, you’ll also get one of our special Christmas cards in the same envelope. If you need any more encouragement, take a look at the gorgeous cover image that Jonathan Wyke has created for us.

And a quick reminder that at least some of us will be at Dragonmeet this weekend. Please track us down and say hello. We’ll leave a scent trail to assist you.

Oh, and we mention the great Fricker Halloween party of 2017. Unfortunately for us, Scott’s ill-advised dalliances with greasepaint and Paul’s unrecognisable octopus costume were captured by Mike Mason. Those of a sensitive disposition may wish to look away now.

We’ll be waiting for you in your nightmares.

Other Stuff

There are new songs in this episode, neither of which are ever likely to feature on Songs of Praise. We have had several new Patreon backers recently, possibly because of the imminent Blasphemous Tome. Once again, this means that we have built up a small backlog of people to sing to. Time constraints and common human decency mean that we limit ourselves to two songs per episode. If you are still waiting for your aural assault, it shouldn’t be too long now.

Posted in Call of Cthulhu, Roleplaying Games, The Blasphemous Tome, The Good Friends of Jackson Elias | 2 Comments

The Blasphemous Tome issue 3

Last chance for The Blasphemous Tome issue 3!

We currently putting the finishing touches to the latest issue of The Blasphemous Tome. This is the print-only fanzine we produce exclusively for Patreon backers of The Good Friends of Jackson Elias.

  • $1 backers will receive one copy
  • $3 backers will receive one signed copy
  • $5 backers will receive two copies, one of which will be signed

Barring last-minute delays, backers should receive their copies with their Christmas cards. It doesn’t get any more festive than that!

We plan on posting the Christmas cards on the 11th of December. That said, we will carry on sending copies of the Tome to anyone who becomes a backer before the end of the year.

The Blasphemous Tome issue 3 cover

What is The Blasphemous Tome?

The Blasphemous Tome is our attempt to recapture the spirit of gaming fanzines of the 1980s, staples, wonky layout and all. For maximum verisimilitude, we make Matt use Courier for the body text, even though this makes him cry. Some of the paste marks on the pages may actually be tear stains.

The Blasphemous Tome only exists in a physical form. There were no PDFs in the 1980s. They were dark times.

We print enough copies for our backers, with a few spares as prizes for charity raffles, review copies and the like.

What’s in this issue?

This issue sees the return of a few regular columns, as well as some new features. Once again, we also have contributions from our wonderful and talented listeners.

One major change is that this is the first Tome to be officially licensed by Chaosium! This means that we are able to include content specifically for Call of Cthulhu. We have taken advantage of this and written a new Pulp Cthulhu scenario, called A New Age of Wonders! As heavy snows descend, festivities at a ritzy New Year’s Eve party in Vermont soon turn to death and madness. The heroes will have to grapple with mad science, horrible monsters and a sinister plot that threatens humanity’s very existence.

And of course, we have art. The issue is filled with excellent and atmospheric work by Lucy Fricker, Daupo, Evlyn Moreau, Symon Leech and Linus Larsson.

Once again, we have an amazing cover from good friend of the Good Friends, Jonathan Wyke. Jonathan has illustrated many of the books we’ve done for Chaosium, and we are always excited to see him bring our fevered imaginings to unwholesome life.

Contents

  • Paul shares his fond memories of Necronomicon 2017
  • Matt Ryan and Noah Lloyd present two Great Old Ones of apocalyptic might
  • Paul, Matt and Scott discuss their favourite games of the past year in The Ludomancers
  • Matt makes your liver whimper for mercy in Cocktail Corner
  • Elina Gouliou suggests some unusual and piscine game concepts in Three Seafood LARPs
  • Paul examines another artefact of the 1970s in Vinyl Corner
  • Jason Janicki presents a shuddersome horror vignette called Technical Difficulties
  • In The Sanderson Collection, Matt discusses some limited editions of interest
  • Scott presents an overview of the Netflix Original horror films on offer
  • Matt punishes one of his misbehaving dice in Die, Die, Die!
  • Paul, Matt and Scott reminisce about their favourite recordings of the year in Episodes of Insanity
  • Matt earns more dirty looks from Scott in Plush of the Month
  • Trevor Hirst presents a nasty way to bind a group of investigators together in Something is Rotten in the Root Cellar
  • Scott reviews Nathan Ballingrud’s excellent short story collection, North American Lake Monsters

Getting your copy

We only produce The Blasphemous Tome for our Patreon backers. We do not sell copies directly.

If you want the latest issue, simply back us on Patreon at any level by the end of the year.

 

 

Posted in Call of Cthulhu, Roleplaying Games, Site News, The Blasphemous Tome | 2 Comments

Episode 117 – The Good Friends conjure up their thoughts on Sorcerer

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Sorcerer

Main Topic

We’re back and we’re scratching pentagrams into the floor, muttering blasphemous incantations and making ill-advised pacts with demons. This episode is our discussion of Ron Edwards’ influential indie RPG, Sorcerer. Kicking off a self-publishing revolution in the late 1990s, Sorcerer was arguably a manifesto as much as a game. This is not to say that it’s not fun or interesting to play. It’s a challenging RPG, but a rewarding one.

 

In our discussion, we make reference to the indie games website, The Forge. While the discussion forum is no longer active, its archived content is still accessible. If you have any interest in playing Sorcerer (or other indie games of the period), there are plenty of insightful threads to be found there. Another useful resource we mention is Christopher Kubasik’s Play Sorcerer. While the book itself was never completed, you can find several chapters on the linked blog. This is essential reading for Sorcerer GMs. Kubasik also created the TV series, The Booth at the End, which explores many of the same themes as Sorcerer. Finally, we mention the range of Sorcerer mini-supplements, as well as the excellent Dictionary of Mu.

News

One of the perils of recording these segments in advance is that sometimes the news isn’t as fresh as we’d like. We’ve already mentioned that Scott has been running his Call of Cthulhu scenario Blackwater Creek for the How We Roll podcast crew, but seeing that it came up in the episode, we shall take the opportunity to plug it again. You can download the recordings, along with many other Call of Cthulhu actual plays, from the How We Roll website. It was a fun game with a great bunch of players. We hope to do more stuff with them again.

As we also mention in the news segment, we will be attending Dragonmeet in London, on Saturday the 2nd of December. While we are not giving any seminars, we still hope to see some of you there and maybe have a chat over a pint.

Other Stuff

As you can plainly hear, we all had nasty colds when recording. Whether or not this made our singing any worse is debatable. It definitely sounds like we’re trying to conjure up unholy spirits from the very bowels of Hell, but this is actually our way of saying thanks. When particularly generous backers pledge $5 per episode on Patreon, we sing their praises. As you may surmise from the results, whatever we received in exchange for our immortal souls, it wasn’t musical talent.

Posted in Call of Cthulhu, Gaming Conventions, Roleplaying Games, The Good Friends of Jackson Elias | 3 Comments

Episode 116 – The Good Friends dig into The Shunned House

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The Shunned House

Episode 116: The Shunned House

Main Topic

We’re back and we’re digging into another Lovecraft story, looking for the horrors that lie beneath. The Shunned House is one of the more minor of Lovecraft’s major stories, if that makes any sense. It is a lengthy, substantial piece that certainly shares thematic elements with his Mythos tales, if not any explicit continuity. Whether or not this makes it an interesting or worthwhile tale is debatable, and debate this we do!

The shunned house of the story is a real place, located on the delightfully scenic Benefit Street in Providence. While attending Necronomicon this summer, we took the opportunity to make an unhallowed pilgrimage. It is someone’s home, however, so we did no more than lurk outside like a gaggle of creepy cultists. I imagine the owners are used to this by now. Despite the house’s evil reputation, we escaped with our flesh undissolved and no more than the usual thirst for human blood.

Paul shuns the Shunned House by the simple economy of turning his back on it.

As ever, we also look at the influences that shaped The Shunned House, its handful of adaptations and some ideas about what we can steal for gaming. Most of these ideas seem to involve flamethrowers.

To be fair, many of our Call of Cthulhu sessions end up this way.

In the context of gaming, we also mention Marcus Rowland’s excellent Forgotten Futures RPG. Rowland has used this as a vehicle for adapting many Victorian and Edwardian fiction settings to gaming. Of specific relevance to this episode is The Carnacki Cylinders, which draws upon William Hope Hodgson’s Carnacki the Ghost Finder. Listeners who like the scientific approach to monster hunting in The Shunned House will find much of interest here. The shadow of Carnacki (possibly cast by his electrical pentacle) lies large over The Shunned House.

We also make passing reference to the ongoing Lovecraft Reread column on Tor.com. Along with the HP Lovecraft Literary Podcast, this is one of our favourite resources for gaining insights into Lovecraft’s work.

News

The first episode of How We Roll‘s recording of Blackwater Creek is now out. Scott, who wrote the scenario, takes on the role of Keeper and tries his damnedest to creep out the players. There should be another 7 episodes after this one, with the horror building steadily throughout.

We mention in the episode that we recorded the seminar that Paul, Scott and Mike Mason presented at the Milton Keynes Literary Festival. The topic was the relationship between RPGs and fiction, with a special emphasis on Call of Cthulhu. It went rather well, or so we believe, with a good turnout and some lively questions from the audience. Our plan was to release it by now, but it’s not quite ready yet. Keep an eye on your RSS feed and it should be there in the not-too-distant future.

Also, we have invited listeners to submit articles and artwork for issue 3 of The Blasphemous Tome. This is the annual fanzine we create and send to all our Patreon backers. If you have a short article (300-1,000 words) or some black-and-white artwork, please send it our way. The deadline is the 20th of November.

Other Stuff

Once again, there is singing in this episode. As regular listeners know to their cost, we sing the praises of those who back us on Patreon at the $5 level. Both subjects of this episode’s songs presented unique challenges, but I think we had the ambition and hubris to tackle them. The refusal to acknowledge one’s limitations will take you further than talent and hard work. Well, that’s what we keep telling ourselves.

One of the recipients of our merciless song is the actual play podcast, The Esoteric Order of Roleplayers. We promised to link to them in the show, so here we go. Enjoy!

Posted in Call of Cthulhu, H.P. Lovecraft, Horror Films, Horror Stories, The Blasphemous Tome, The Good Friends of Jackson Elias | Leave a comment